A new seasonal agriculture worker visa will come as huge relief to the agriculture industry that has been crying out for a secure workforce, according to Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson.
Mr Wilson said the new agriculture visa will help to secure the labour force needed by Australian farmers both now and into the future.
“As part of the give and take of negotiations with the UK over the FTA, UK backpackers will no longer be required to fulfil a period of time working in the agriculture sector,” Mr Wilson said.
“As a result, the Morrison Government has secured this new agriculture visa to fill the gap that would create and more.
“This visa will be extended to all 10 ASEAN countries in view of our close and longstanding economic ties with the region.
“The new seasonal agricultural worker visa would mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.”
Mr Wilson said the Pacific worker programs have and will continue to play a critical role in Australia’s agriculture sector and the new visa arrangement will build on the success of these arrangements.
“Like the Seasonal Worker Programme, the new visa arrangement will have protections to ensure workers are protected, not subject to exploitation and that the visa is not misused,” he said.
“Pay and conditions, health, and work and safety will also be in line with similar requirements and protections under the Seasonal Worker Programme.
“Australian farmers will have the labour they need to do what they do best – growing premium food and fibre and exporting it to the world.
“The new visa will also set up the industry for the future and will address a key brake for many of agriculture industries – the availability of labour.”
The Australian Government will work to have the new visa in place before the end of the year.
Note: the 10 ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.